Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, firstname.lastname@example.org
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July 24, 2015 – The
Georgia Department of Education is announcing the policy for free and
reduced-price meals for children unable to pay the full price served in schools
under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast
Program. Local school officials have adopted the following family size and
income criteria for determining eligibility.
Income is Within
Income is Within
FOR EACH ADDITIONAL FAMILY MEMBER, ADD $5,408 PER YEAR TO THE
INCOME LEVEL FOR FREE MEALS AND $7,696 TO THE INCOME LEVEL FOR REDUCED PRICE
A reduced price breakfast will cost no more than $0.30 and a reduced
price lunch will be no more than $0.40 per meal.
Application forms are being sent from local schools to all homes with a
letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced price meals, households should fill out the
application and return it to the school. Children from families whose
income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price
meals. Foster children may also be eligible for these meals.
Families with foster children should contact the school for information
regarding benefits. Additional forms are available at the principal's
office in each school. The information provided on the application will be
used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time
with each school district required to verify a sample annually.
Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.
For school officials to determine eligibility, households receiving SNAP
or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) must list the child's name,
their SNAP or TANF case number and the signature and name of an adult household
member. Households not receiving SNAP or TANF must list: child's
name, names of all household members, the last four digits of the social
security number of the parent or guardian who signs the application (or an
indication that neither possesses a social security number), the amount of
monthly income received by each household member, identified by source, and the
signature of an adult household member certifying that the information provided
is correct. The information provided by the household is confidential and
will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and verifying data. We may
inform officials connected with other child nutrition, health, and education
programs of the information on your form to determine benefits for those
programs or for funding and/or evaluation purposes.
If a household member becomes unemployed, or if the household size
increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make
the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income
falls at or below the levels shown above.
Under the provisions of this policy, a school official will review
applications and determine eligibility. If a parent is dissatisfied with
the determination, he/she may contact the school either orally or in writing.
B. Russell National School Lunch Act requires the information on the
application. You do not have to give the information, but if you do not, your
child’s application for free or reduced price meals cannot be
approved. You must include the last four digits of the social security number
of the adult household member who signs the application. The last four
digits of the social security number is not required when you apply on behalf
of a foster child or you list a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program or Food
Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) case number or other FDPIR
identifier for your child or when you indicate that the adult household member
signing the application does not have a social security number. We will
use your information to determine if your child is eligible for free or reduced
price meals, and for administration and enforcement of the lunch and breakfast
programs. We MAY share your eligibility information with education, health, and
nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund, or determine benefits for their
programs, auditors for program reviews, and law enforcement officials to help
them look into violations of program rules.
Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers,
employees, and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, national
origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where
applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status,
sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from
any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment
or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not
all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)
If you wish
to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA
Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html,
or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may
also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the
form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence
Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202)690-7442 or email at email@example.com.
who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA
through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136
USDA is an
equal opportunity provider and employer.
asked questions about free and reduced-price meals:
How do I apply? You should receive an application from
your child’s school. If not, please contact the school directly.
Do I need to fill out an application
for each of my children? No,
you need one application for all students in your household. Return the
completed application to your child’s school.
Who can get free meals? All children in households receiving
benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) can get free meals regardless of your
income. Also, your children can get free meals if your household’s gross income
is within the free limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. Foster children that are
under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible
for free meals. Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are
eligible for free meals. Children who meet the definition of
homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals. Children may
receive free or reduced price meals if the household’s income is within the
limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines as shown above.
I KNOW IF MY CHILDREN QUALIFY AS homeless, MIGRANT, OR RUNAWAY? Do the members of your household lack
a permanent address? Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other
temporary housing arrangement? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis?
Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or
household? If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions
and haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please contact your
Should I fill out an application if I
get a letter this school year saying my children are approved for free or
reduced-price meals? No,
but please read the letter carefully and follow the instructions.
If any children in your
household were missing from the letter call your local School Nutrition Program
My child’s application was approved
last year. Do I need to fill out a new one? Yes, a new application is required each school year.
Your child’s application last year was only good for the 2014-15 school year
and for the first few days of this 2015-16 school year. You must send in
a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for
the new school year.
I get WIC. Can my children get free
meals? Yes, children
in households participating in WIC may be eligible free or reduced-price meals.
Please send in an application.
Will the information I give be
checked? Yes, and we
may also ask you to send written proof of the household information you report.
If I do not qualify now, may I apply
later? Yes, you may
apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent
or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and
reduced-price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.
What if I disagree with the school’s
decision about my application? You
should speak with school officials. You also may ask for a hearing to have the
May I apply if someone in my household
is not a U. S. citizen? Yes,
you or your children do not have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for free or
reduced price meals.
Who should I include as members of my
household? You must
include all people living in your household, related or not (such as
grandparents, other relatives, or friends) who share income and expenses. You
must include yourself and all children who are living with you. If you live
with other people who are economically independent (for example, people whom
you do not support, whom do not share income with you or your children, and
whom pay a pro-rated share of expenses), do not include them.
What if my income is not always the
same? List the amount
that you normally receive. For instance, if you normally make $1000 each month,
but you only made $900 last month due to an unexpected reduction in hours,
please include the normal about of $1000 per month. If you normally get
overtime, please also include it. If you have lost a job or had your hours or
wages reduced, please use your current income.
WHAT IF SOME HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS HAVE NO
INCOME TO REPORT? Household
members may not receive some types of income we ask you to report on the
application, or may not receive income at all. Whenever this happens, please
write a 0 in the field. However, if any income fields are left empty or blank,
those will also be counted as zeroes. Please be careful when leaving
income fields blank, as we will assume you meant to do so.
We are in the military. do
we REPORT OUR INCOME DIFFERENTLY?
Your basic pay and
cash bonuses must be reported as income. If you get any cash value
allowances for off-base housing, food, or clothing, or receive Family
Subsistence Supplemental Allowance payments, it must also be included as
income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization
Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income. Any additional
combat pay resulting from deployment is not included as income.
My family needs more help. Are there
other programs we might apply for? For
more information on the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast
Program, contact Nancy Rice, Director of the School Nutrition Division of the
Georgia Department of Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at (404) 651-6600. For more information on applying for SNAP, or other
assistance benefits, visit http://georgia.gov/popular-topic/applying-food-stamps
For more information on School Meals
Eligibility contact Theresa Latta at email@example.com.